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Miguel Grau Seminario |
Peruvian Admiral during the War of the Pacific |
Born | July 27, 1834(1834-07-27)
Paita, Peru |
Died | October 8, 1879(1879-10-08) (aged 45)
Near Punta Angamos, Bolivia |
Miguel María Grau Seminario (Paita, Peru, 27 July 1834 – Punta Angamos, Bolivia, 8 October 1879) wasa renowned Peruvian naval officer and hero of the Naval Battle of Angamos during the War of the Pacific (1879-1884). He was known as the el Caballero de los Mares (Spanish for "Gentleman of the Seas") for his chivalry and is esteemed by both Peruvians and Chileans. He is an iconic figure for the Peruvian Navy, and one of the most famous merchant marine and naval military leaders of America.Contents[hide] * 1 Early life * 2 Early career * 3 War of the Pacific * 3.1 The Gentleman of the Seas * 3.2 Death at Battle of Angamos * 4 Legacy * 5 References * 6 External links |
 Early life
Miguel Grau was born in Paita on 27 July 1834 in the house of Dr. Alexander Diamont Newel with the assistance of the midwife Tadea Castillo, also known as "The Morito," bothprominent figures in Paita. His father was Don Juan Manuel Grau y Berrío, a Colombian who came to Peru with Bolivar in the fight for independence from Spain. Later, Don Juan bought property in Paita and worked at the Customs Office. His mother, Luisa Seminario y del Castillo, motivated Grau to love the sea from his youth. He entered the Paita Nautical School. He first went to sea when he was nine yearsold, going to Fortune, Colombia, aboard a merchant schooner. The schooner sank and he returned to Paita. Grau later went on various merchant ships to ports in Oceania, Asia, America and Europe. These voyages gave Grau the seagoing experience that was the foundation for his brilliant career as a nautical officer.
 Early career
In 1853, at the age of 19, he left the merchant marine andbecame an officer candidate of the Peruvian Navy, where he developed an outstanding professional reputation. In 1854, he was Military officer of the steamer Rimac. His career was rapid and brilliant. In 1863, he was promoted a year later. In 1864, he was sent to Europe to oversee the construction of ships for the Peruvian fleet. He would be put in prison a year later, with a group of fellow officersfor rejecting the idea of hiring a foreigner as supreme commander of the peruvian navy, but was later released after a trial in which they were declared not giulty as their cause was proven worthy. Among these ships was the ironclad Huáscar, launched in 1865 by Laird at Birkenhead. Upon his return, Chile and Peru joined together in a bi-national fleet against Spanish attempts to reclaim theirAmerican colonies. In 1868, he was recalled to the Navy and was named commander of the Huáscar with the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was later promoted to Commander. By June 1, 1874, he became the commanding officer of the Peruvian Navy's fleet as Captain, and later became a member of the Congress of the Republic of Peru as an elected congressman in 1876 representing Paita. To this day his seat ispreserved in congress.
 War of the Pacific
The Peruvian warship Huascar.
When the War of the Pacific against Chile began on 5 April 1879, Miguel Grau was aboard the Huáscar, as its captain and the Commander of the Navy. Capitán Grau played an important role by interdicting Chilean lines of communication and supply, damaging, capturing or destroying several enemy vessels, and bombardingport installations. Grau's Huáscar became famed for moving stealthily, striking by surprise and then disappearing. These actions put off a Chilean invasion by sea for six months.
 The Gentleman of the Seas
Battle of Iquique
At the Battle of Iquique, after Huáscar sank the Chilean corvette Esmeralda by ramming her, Grau ordered the rescue of the surviving crew from the waters. Grau...